Last fall, Bridgeport Superintendent Fran Rabinowitz testified in front of the State Superior Court that she couldn’t “with complete certainty” deny that a student could graduate from Bridgeport Public School functionally illiterate.
You’d think a statement like this would send up red flags for state legislators, but, NOPE. Instead of strengthening graduation requirements, according to the Connecticut Mirror, last Thursday the Connecticut Senate voted unanimously to water down graduation requirements:
“Legislation that won unanimous approval in the Senate last Thursday does away with the exit exams and senior project and broadens the description of courses students must take to graduate. It also pushes back for another two years the requirement that students earn 25 credits to graduate instead of the current 20. The senior project would be replaced with a “mastery-based diploma assessment” which is “achieved through educational experiences and opportunities that provide flexible and multiple pathways to learning” such as career or technical education, virtual learning, internship or independent study.”
To read the full story here’s a link.
What’s incredible is the members of the state senate are applauding themselves.
In a press release, Deputy Majority Leaders and Chair of the Education Committee Sen. Gayle Slossberg wrote: “It is our responsibility to ensure that students graduating from Connecticut High Schools are equipped to succeed, no matter what path they pursue in life… These new requirements are a critical part of living up to that responsibility.”
Yet, the state senate is doing the exact opposite of what was recommended by Superior Court Judge Thomas Moukawsher in his landmark ruling in the CCJEF v. Rell school finance suit, where he wrote that “state graduation and advancement standards are so loose that in struggling cities the neediest are leaving schools with diplomas but without the education we promise them.”
And the data backs this up. In cities like Bridgeport, New Britain and Waterbury, about half of all students that graduate high school and go on to college have to take remedial classes. As it is now, the state isn’t living up to our responsibility to make sure kids are graduating with meaningful degrees. Weakening standards aren’t going to make things any better.